Reality Check

Biker lady fantasy reality A picture is worth 1000 words. Reality or not. It evokes a strong feeling.

This is the picture of myself that I carry in my head. My fantasy reality. I have no idea where I first saw the picture. Undoubtedly online, because I copied it and put it in my Inspiration folder. (I would love to credit the artist. She has captured my inner self.) This is how I advertise myself to me.

I’ve never had red hair. Never attempted to stand on the seat of my bike. Only fantasize about a little travel camper. And it has been decades since I was so thin. But oh, how I feel that spirit! That sense of freedom and independence and the world is mine! I’ve bought into the advertisement!

That inner woman hovers near my surface. Each night when I go to bed, she has plans for the next day’s adventures. Full of energy and wilfulness. She plans the sunrise hikes. The lions and rhinos that will be photographed. The coral reefs that she will swim over. The exciting strangers who will become friends. It all leads to wonderful dreams!
Reality check

My reality is much closer to the ladies on the right (though my new knees are not as agile). I AM a senior citizen!

This reality really struck home last week on a trip to Boston. Walking this most walkable of cities, I realized that I could no longer set the pace for foot traffic. I was the turtle that everyone was passing. As I entered Symphony Hall for a morning concert rehearsal, I was astounded to find myself in the midst of hundreds of OLD people! What happened?

Reality check. Only retired folks would be going to a Thursday morning concert; retired folks tend to be older than the free wheeling woman in my self-portrait!

That realization haunted me for days.

Always a day dreamer; believer in magic, love at first sight and lottery tickets, I really am fairly well grounded. I know that I am 67. Overweight. Gray haired. Arthritic. And ever the optimist. I’ve never been depressed about my age. I’ve never wished I could turn the clock back. I would not be the woman I am without ALL of my life experiences. I don’t know that age has brought me wisdom. After all, I am still picturing that free wheeling young lady as ME.

I’ve never thought much about the ages of my friends. We are friends because of common interests and enthusiasms for life, our community, art and food. Our ages range from 25 – 75. We move in a variety of social circles that overlap in many ways. Committee work. Attending plays. Dining out. Holidays. Walking. Biking. Dieting. Sharing books. Griping about politics. Volunteering. Learning. My life is rich with people. And I am sure each of us has an inner picture, a beautiful self-portrait, that inspires us.

Though I know that I will never stand on the bike seat, my reality is the gray-haired old lady under the table who dreams of adventures and occasionally climbs out of her books to challenge the world and look for magic. That picture is my life.


5 thoughts on “Reality Check

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-33">
    Mary LaFontaine

    When I’m an old woman I shall wear purple…and so the story goes. I, too, celebrate each and every birthday with joy, accomplishment, excitement of things to come, honored that I am still allowed to be on this earth, and I am proud of the woman I have become with each and every year…gray hair and pain and slower movements. Cheers to aging!

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-26">
    Vicki Fox Kasparek


    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-24">

    I don’t think your reality is stuck under the table with your “old” friends, Tammie. I think you are somewhere between the two pictures of yourself. When you can no longer SEE the fanciful lady standing on the bicycle seat then you may reflect on your past and anticipate the adventures you will have as a senior citizen. Until then throw out the calendar and don’t think about age in numbers or aches and pains. Just sit down on the bicycle and peddle as long as you are able..

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-23">

    I love how this post mirrors my own thoughts. Where does the time go? I love your description of looking around and seeing all the “OLD” folks and realizing that you are part of this crowd. I too am startled by the fact that I am now an “elder” and I wonder what that means for someone like me who is continually searching and exploring, (However, my explorations are more like yours rather than your daughter’s!) I am thrilled that the women coming behind us are full of life, confidence and joy and have the opportunities that, frankly, were not afforded to us at that age. Be it society, our parents, the world back then….(remember it was not that long ago that women could not buy a house or get a credit card on their own…let alone travel the world. So let us rejoice in our opportunities and the opportunities that will unfold for the “young un’s”….

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-22">

    Happy to know you, old lady. 😉
    Though I see you more as the lady standing on her bike seat, too. Cheers!

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